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A Review of Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide

My ghetto BCP, complete with chopstick spears.

My ghetto BCP, complete with chopstick spears.

I had a great time flipping through The Damn Tasty Vegan Baking Guide. I even bought it into the bathroom to read a few times! Kris Holechek, of Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen cooking blog fame, does a great job of sharing her passion for baking. I enjoyed reading the story of how she came to love baking. I also learned some great info on the chemistry behind why things rise and bind from the baking basics chapter.

I baked two things from the cookbook. The first thing I baked, a Boston Cream Pie, turned out pretty damned good. The second thing, the Blueberry Streusel Muffins, was pretty damned awful–flat and flavorless.

I followed the The Boston Cream Pie recipe exactly and reaped rather tasty results, even though I had never eaten or seen this kind of cake. I didn’t eat much of the cake since I’m trying to avoid processed sugar (trust me, this took a lot of will power), but my vegan and non-vegan friends thought it was delicious.

I don’t blame Kris entirely for the muffin incident. I did use maple syrup when the recipe explicitly called for sugar and my oven is a sometimes moody electric monstrosity. These seem like factors that could foil even the best cookbook author’s intentions (though it hasn’t yet affected recipes I’ve tried from other sources). So while it is almost clearly not Kris’ fault, I am a little wary of the book’s muffin recipes.

I like DTVBG, but it does leave me wanting more. I wish there were information about what one could replace sugar with and how. I also wish Kris shared recipes that were a little less mainstream; none of the recipes in this book seemed signature. In my opinion, the only reason to get this book as opposed to other vegan baking books is to own a little, tangible bit of Kris, who is fabulous. I love Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen. I hope she’ll soon create a cookbook of non-desserts like the ones featured there. I think we’ll then get a taste of Kris at her best.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Melisser

    on #

    I bought this book as well & my attempt at her Vegan Donuts was not successful. I’m a bit discouraged, but I’m going to try some other recipes before I shelf this book permanently. It sounds like I should try the Boston Cream Pie!

  2. Comment by

    Jen

    on #

    I really enjoyed the Garden Muffins and the Blueberry Streusel Muffins. The cookbook was very easy to follow. The author gives great tips as well.

  3. Comment by

    KH

    on #

    If you try one thing try the banana cake with the peanut butter frosting. Assuming you like banana and peanut butter, you can’t go wrong. Lemon almond tart rocks too.

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